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Posted on Sat, Apr 17, 2010 07:44

Posted April 16, 2010 at 5:06 p.m. The American military likes to say it will leave no one behind on the battlefield. On Friday, some of the men who endeavor to make the statement true, even at the risk of their lives, met at the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum with the mother and father of one of the men whose body they recovered in a hostile valley in Afghanistan. “I don’t know how to describe meeting the men who risked their lives to bring out my son,” said Corky Axelson, 65, of Cupertino, Calif. “They are normal Americans but very special men.” Axelson and his wife, Donna, came to Florida to visit the museum and the men who recovered their son’s body. “This is the one time we have ever been able to do this — meeting with the family of someone we have brought out,” said Tech. Sgt. Brian Boyce of the 301st Rescue Squadron, based at Patrick Air Force Base. “We have flown a lot of medical missions and that usually means someone is having a very bad time, but this was a very good day meeting everyone involved. It gives us closure.” Matthew Axelson, 29, was one of four Navy SEALs taking part in Operation Red Wing, a secret mission in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, to capture or kill Taliban leader Ahmad Shah, head of an insurgent group known as the “Mountain Tigers.” The SEAL unit was betrayed to the Taliban, which attacked with a force of more than 40 men. Only one SEAL, Marcus Luttrell, survived. The team leader, Lt. Michael Murphy, won the Medal of Honor, Axelson, Luttrell and Danny Dietz were awarded the Navy Cross, the second-highest Navy combat award. Luttrell was saved by friendly tribal leaders, who told the Americans where they were hiding him from the Taliban. The effort to rescue Luttrell and the other three became the largest rescue operation conducted since Vietnam. Nineteen Americans were killed, one wounded and a Chinook helicopter was shot down during the search, rescue and recovery operation. Luttrell and the bodies of Dietz and Murphy were brought out almost immediately. It was 10 days of dangerous searching before Axelson’s body was found almost a mile from the original battle site. The site was 7,500 feet up in the mountains, posing a problem for fuel and weight. The crew refused to leave the area until they found Axelson, and to continue the search, they stripped the helicopters of weapons, ammunition, armor plate, even their own body armor, said Col. Kurt Matthews, who was pilot on the mission. Eventually, tribesmen brought them to where Axelson had died. Tech. Sgt. Dan Murray, a para-rescue man, went out and brought Axelson’s body in. The men told the Axelsons that before their son’s body was flown out of Afghanistan, they pinned an American flag they had carried to his body bag, which was then carried to a waiting plane through military men and women standing shoulder-to-shoulder along a mile of roadway at the air base. Friday’s meeting came about because Master Sgt. Brian Wells found Donna Axelson on the Internet. When she told him she and her husband were coming to Florida to visit friends and the SEAL Museum, he arranged with his wing commander, Col. Curt Matthews, to fly the crew down for the meeting. The Navy Seal Museum is located at 3300 North A1A, North Hutchinson Island - Fort Pierce, Florida 34949 and has a site to see for pics at ...navysealmuseum... Excellent place to ride and spend the day

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